In January 2020, we kicked off The 12 Steps to Living Confidently, a series about how to become better at managing your finances. This gradual build, from more basic to more advanced, stemmed from research showing that nearly 80 percent of working Americans are highly stressed out, particularly about finances.
Maybe you’ve been following each step, one by one. Maybe you’ve had a look at a few here and there. Or maybe you’re completely new to what we’re talking about here. Regardless, you now have 11 steps ready to help make you more financially and emotionally confident. Each step is encapsulated below, as a review and for quick access.
Whether you’ve kept up with the first 11 steps, or just touched on a few, step 12 is about checking your progress. To adopt new behaviors, or modify existing ones, experts recommend following the PDCA approach — plan, do, check and act. Ask yourself: What has worked? Which areas remain challenging? Where did you leave off? In what ways do you feel more confident? How are you acting on what you learned? Analyzing your progress, tweaking behaviors as needed and rededicating yourself to the goal of improving your financial well-being is all part of the process.
STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR LIFE GOALS
Identifying what’s important in your life, such as saving for college, a new home or retirement, is the starting point for smarter financial decisions.
STEP 2: HOW TO SET UP A BUDGET
Two-thirds of Americans say they are not good at living within their means. This article outlines how to set up and stick to a budget.
STEP 3: HOW TO CUT YOUR EXPENSES
There are surprisingly simple ways you can retain more of your hard-earned cash without feeling deprived.
STEP 4: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
The five “layers” of protection can help safeguard what matters most: your life, health, ability to earn money and the assets you’ve accumulated.
STEP 5: HOW TO MAKE SMART DEBT DECISIONS
Becoming savvier about debt can help get your finances under control so you can live more confidently.
STEP 6: SAVINGS AND CASH FLOW
Here are some smart ways to establish a positive cash flow so you can cover your monthly costs and plan for future needs, like major purchases and retirement.
STEP 7: HOW TO RETIRE WITH CONFIDENCE
How can you best establish and manage a retirement income? Get informed so you can develop a plan to retire comfortably.
STEP 8: LEGACY AND ESTATE PLANNING
Confident Planners, the least stressed Americans, use estate planning to take control of the unknown and safeguard their family’s future. You can too.
STEP 9: THE SMALL BUSINESS DREAM
These five steps that can help lay the financial groundwork to make your entrepreneurial dream a reality.
STEP 10: HORIZON, RISK TOLERANCE AND COMPOUNDING
Understanding these three financial principles can help you build solid retirement savings and establish a guaranteed retirement income.
STEP 11: BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING
If you’ve taken the time to build a business, you most likely want it to last. Protect your small business dream by ensuring financial security for years to come.
STEP 12: SET GOALS
Learning optimal financial behaviors is a process. Take time to review and take stock. Each step can help you set goals and move you closer to developing optimal financial and emotional confidence.
Finally, if you really want to take it to the next level, speak with a financial professional who can be your one-on-one guide toward financial and emotional confidence.
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